The Telangana Prisons department has decided to start shelter homes at the 14 sub-jails that it had shut down across the state for want of enough prisoners, a top official said today. "The department has closed 14 sub-jails which were operating much below their authorised capacity and by the end of this year we intend to close at least four to five more sub-jails. We want to use these closed sub-jails to start shelter homes for the visually challenged, mentally ill, orphans, destitute women, the elderly and sick besides physically challenged persons," Director General (Prisons and Correctional Services) V K Singh told reporters here. He termed it the "most novel experiment undertaken by any prison department in the world." "On the lines of 'Anand Ashrams' (special homes) set up for the rehabilitation of beggars in Chanchalguda and Cherlapalli (central prisons) in the city, we will be making provisions for the most neglected and deprived sections of society," he said. Singh informed that psychologists, doctors, volunteers and helpers would be recruited to take care of them. "The department will impart training to upgrade the skills of these inmates at these shelter homes besides marketing the products made by them," Singh said. "The idea is make all these centres self-sustaining. We will use these closed sub-jails as centres till the government makes alternative arrangements (for their rehabilitation)," he said. "We want to show that a government department can be a great social service centre.
Good orphanages run by us will also prevent the children from becoming criminals. Our idea is to bring down the number of criminals. Today we have come out with a plan to rehabilitate all destitutes and poor who are prone to committing cimes due to poverty. The idea of these shelter homes is to give them a dignifed life," Singh said. He said that the department had already started rehabilitation and reformation programmes for ex-prisoners and had set a target of employment generation, crime reduction and social service. There are 35 sub-jails in Telangana and the number of prisoners confined, as on January 27 this year, stood at 5,348 (4953 men and 395 women) as against 6012 (men 5567 and women 445) on December 31,2014, the DG had earlier said. The sanctioned accommodation in all the jails in the state is 6,848 prisoners.
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